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In 1991 Billy and Akaisha Kaderli retired at the age of 38. Now, into their 3rd decade of this financially independent lifestyle, they invite you to take advantage of their wisdom and experience.

Adventures in Financial Independence

Billy & Akaisha Kaderli

Our adventure in financial independence started 24 years, and 11 months ago.

Ok, I admit it, I’m a numbers nerd.

We were 38 years old and full of energy for whatever came our way. Over the last three decades we have had more experiences and challenges than we can mention, but suffice it to say: We’re still here.

Soon we are about to cut a new notch on the pole of life. What is it about turning 64? Did somebody remove some of the sand out of the hourglass? We aren’t even close to finishing our journeys to new cultures and countries and sometimes we feel that time is running out.

Do it while you’re young

This is the advice I received from retirees back in the ‘80s when I was managing their money at Dean Witter Reynolds. They would come into my office and tell me tales of their latest cruise around the Caribbean, an excursion through Europe or an outing on the links as I sat there trapped behind my desk.  My mind would race trying to figure out how we, too, could live this lifestyle.

Billy and Akaisha, Not ready to push the daisies up yet!

And here we are, three decades later, living a life that most will only dream of, even though for many it is within their grasp.

Sharing some highpoints

Colorful characters, unique geographical destinations and the distinct experiences of world travel over these years have strengthened and pushed us, forcing our personal limitations and boundaries to stretch.  

Climbing an active volcano in Guatemala with rocks spitting out of its throat was one of the dumber things we have done as adults.  But what a view! We cooked dinner from our RV for 26 people while living on a ranch in northern Montana. Then we watched the aurora borealis in the evenings, hot air balloons in the early morning light and rafted wild, white water rivers on hot afternoons. Playing tennis in tropical Thailand, I was the only English speaker on the court, and Akaisha learned Thai massage to correct our aches and pains.

We slept on a Vietnamese Junk in Halong Bay, dove for lobsters and grilled them beachside on the Caribbean Island of Nevis and bargained for rubies, sapphires and diamonds in Burma.

 

Not all of our journeys had world-wide glamour. We were honored to provide End of Life care for Akaisha’s ageing mom and dad and for my own father as well. Financial independence gave us the time and the ability to choose to do this. Something we could never have done, had we stayed bound to our jobs.

After all of this emotional and physical intensity, we headed to Ecuador. Here we met the Quechua indigenous peoples, stayed in their homes, sought out volcanic hot springs in the Andes Mountains, and lodged in the ancient Sacred Valley of Vilcabamba. We have lived amongst the Maya on the shores of beautiful Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, built tennis courts in Chapala, Mexico, and bused through both islands of New Zealand.

There are so many places, peoples and cultures to see that when we look at a map, it is like a candy store to us.

Soon turning 64, the clock keeps ticking. Our goal is to make the most of it.

Our advice?

If you want to make your dreams come true, you have to build a floor underneath them. Practicalities like tracking your spending lets you know how much money you are putting out per day. For the 9099 days we have been retired since 1991, we have averaged $60.52 per day or $22,090 per year.

As a ‘youngster’ in the brokerage business, I was told: If you work for the next five years like nobody else will, you can live the rest of your life like nobody else can. I took that advice to heart. If you are willing to eliminate all of your debt – even your mortgage, your options will be unlimited. Imagine your lifestyle if you were not paying off financial obligations each month and all of your income was yours to save, invest or spend.

Take control of your finances and become your own money manager. You don’t have to get fancy, but learn the language of money and the terms that are used in investing. Just by doing this simple step, you’ll be ahead of the crowd.

The world changes, we adapt.

Car-Free

In the years since we have taken the leap to financial independence, we continue to make major shifts to our particular lifestyle, evolving it into what it is today. After much consideration, we became Car Free in 2009. We liberated ourselves from car payments, maintenance, insurance and fuel costs. The money we have saved by making this move allows us to hire private drivers or take taxis to our destinations, not to mention boats, planes, subways, skyways, or any other sort of transport available. We maintain our driver’s licenses and are able to rent a car or drive one when we visit family and friends.

House sitting

Housing costs are one of the largest areas of expense in any household. Adding the option of house sitting has brought comfort to our traveling style and has positively affected our costs in this category. Visiting countries for long periods of time in beautiful homes with access to a kitchen and located in a neighborhood environment is an attractive alternative to living in hotels. Once we stayed in a house in the historic colonial city of Antigua, Guatemala. “Our” place was surrounded by three volcanoes, awesome views and comes with a five-day- a-week maid.  While we still enjoy the ease of hotels which are walking distance to restaurants, shops and activities, having the choice of house sitting adds an enriching flavor and a different perspective to our travels.

 

Going Naked

The turmoil, fear, expense and questions about the quality of care that surrounds the delivery of health care in the U.S. have convinced us to drop our U.S. based health insurance policy. Among travelers, this is known as “Going Naked.” It’s a lot scarier to talk about it and to imagine doing it, than to actually make the shift.

We have been proponents of medical tourism for years. Excellent and affordable medical service is available in many of the countries where we travel and we personally have received quality treatment in Thailand, Mexico and Guatemala. Due to our extensive traveling and seeing the caliber of medical care available in foreign countries firsthand, we are confident of this decision. In our experience, the only place we feel frightened of becoming ill and needing medical attention is in the States, and when we visit there, we buy a traveler’s policy.

No doubt there will be people who will balk at this approach, and clearly this decision is not for everyone. However, the cost savings on a policy that we were not using is noticeable and we use those savings to self-insure.

Investment style

We rode out the volatility of the markets for the last 25 years, and then realized that as we age, long term investing is getting shorter for us by the day. It is one thing to be in our 20’s, 30’s or even 40’s to buy, hold and forget about it. But with another significant age marker on the horizon, our time on this planet is limited. Therefore, in this market climate, we have decided to take a proactive approach, realizing profits when opportunities arrive and buying back in at a later time.

Let me state that we are only actively investing with our IRAs, so there are no tax ramifications and we still have holdings in SPY, VTI and DVY in non-IRA accounts that are left untouched. However, avoiding a 15-20% + plunge in the markets in any given year outweigh any lost opportunity costs.

Our journey through retirement has been a remarkable experience, and one we intend to continue.

Why not take a look at your finances today and survey your resources. You might be closer than you think.  If we can live this lifestyle,

YOU can Too!

About the Authors

Billy and Akaisha Kaderli are recognized retirement experts and internationally published authors on topics of finance and world travel. With the wealth of information they share on their popular website RetireEarlyLifestyle.com, they have been helping people achieve their own retirement dreams since 1991. They wrote the popular books, The Adventurer’s Guide to Early Retirement and Your Retirement Dream IS Possible.

For more information about financial independence and travel, visit our book store

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Billy and Akaisha continue to journal and photograph their world travels.

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